I graduated in 2010. I can still remember how the 2007 graduates talked: “I got a job right out of school!” – “I can’t believe how easy that was!” – “An internship gets you a job, guaranteed.”
The Great Recession has made cynics of many of us. Common sense and experience now shows that an undergraduate liberal arts degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee anything. In fact, the widely-held belief is that earning money is again the sole goal of an undergraduate education in trade and practice.
My liberal arts education serves as the foundation for a job that alternates between the technical and the strategic.
But that logic is flawed, as evidenced by the success of small, liberal arts colleges and universities like Houghton College.
My liberal arts education serves as the foundation for a job that alternates between the technical and the strategic. Rather than limiting my abilities, a community of tightly-knit staff and faculty equipped me with a mindset geared toward a lifetime of learning. I was taught the importance of living in my local community with a global conscience.
Without classes in philosophy, anthropology, theology, and other fields, I would have been ill-prepared to adapt to a rapidly changing world and career. My education gave me the skills I needed to learn about areas of the world in which I had little experience or background. I continue to apply the lessons I learned to my career, working with internally displaced persons in East Africa. I can translate highly technical documents into short, easily digested policy papers and stand in front of senior officials to discuss solutions for humanitarian crises around the world.
Liberal arts colleges like Houghton do more than train students how to live today; they teach students how to adapt to the demands and needs of the future. Regardless of a fluctuating economy, my skillset prepares me for whatever the future holds.